Fresh Faces Meeting Ancient Needs: How Namibian fund Hima Holdings’ Co-Founders Are Using Social Entrepreneurship to Improve Lives in Africa.

The World Economic Forum´s Klaus Schwab has called it ´The Great Reset´, mass media has labeled it ´The New Normal´and emerging economies around the world simply look at it as one of the biggest hurdles that human society as a whole has been forced to endure in recent historical times; No matter how you perceive the present overall state of geopolitical, humanitarian and corporate affairs, one thing is certain beyond any reasonable doubt: as a species, we´re collectively undergoing challenging times.

But major challenges, often also open doors that lead to unique opportunities; Narrow, but invaluable spaces of potential action, which a handful of influential global citizens and strategic actors leverage in an overt effort to exert palpable positive social influence, even through trying times.

This is the story behind Hima Holdings, one of the most alluring international investment and development firms; Currently focused on Namibia, Africa.

Thanks to a fruitful and indisputably innovative selection of impactful strategic projects, Hima Abed and COO Nzaki Mwilima have successfully identified an expansive growth outlook for this region, through an ambitious – and highly effective – blend of grassroots community empowerment initiatives and high level analysis coupled with pragmatic, well balanced operational processes and thorough implementation oversight.

Nouvelle visionaries Nzaki and Hima (courtesy)

Mr. Abed recently granted us an exclusive interview, during which the young and successful strategist shared some key insights with our readers:

As a young and successful entrepreneur, how do you navigate the increasingly complex present socio economic and geopolitical conditions?

The last year has been extremely difficult for all young people pursuing their entrepreneurial ambitions, with Managing partner and COO, Nzaki Mwilima and I not excluded from facing a series of hurdles and obstacles that have set-back our project timelines.

That is particularly the case when it comes to public sector engagements, which have been severely subdued due to budgetary restraints caused by a global pandemic. With that in mind, Hima Holdings has been adding to its portfolio, actively pursuing business activity outside of water filtration and desalination technology.

It hasn’t all been dark and gloomy however. Since the start of the new year, for example, we have secured an agreement with Novavera Group and its international sports goods brand Tempo Sport. With Tempo, we are aiming to provide football federations, clubs and leagues across Africa with the most modern and technologically advanced sports products in the market. Our eyes are initially set on transforming Nigeria’s football industry and, in turn, elevating the level of investment and attention African football receives and deserves. Further on, our holding company has been growing its presence in the trade industry of food and raw products, with a particular focus on Pan-African trade as a result of the introduction of the AfCFTA in 2019.

Overarchingly, even though macro prospects call for the need to navigate with extreme flexibility and a cross-disciplinary spirit, we are still adamant on pursuing a steady rate of YOY growth.

Can you share with our readers the vision behind Hima Holdings?

Nzaki Mwilima and I founded Hima Holdings in 2018, but the idea came to us on a trip to Victoria Falls a few years prior. We hadn’t spent that much time together up until this point, but a deeply rooted feeling of trust had formed and we knew that we’d have to build upon this new found brotherhood and be great business partners for years to come.

Having been employed as a management consultant myself and Nzaki’s original profession being that of a chartered accountant, gave us the chance to couple our previous work experience with our tenacity and grit to juggle all fronts of a venture. We made use of profitable cryptocurrency investments and SME subsidisation and promotion efforts by the Namibian government to finally establish the foundations of our company. We ultimately set up and started running of our own business at a relatively early age, which means that we are constantly learning something new in the seemingly infinite nooks and crannies a holding company possesses. This is one trend I don’t think will be subsiding anytime soon.

The vision behind Hima Holdings was to do things right. Pure profit isn’t our primary objective. Our true goal is to be the driver of positive, long-lasting change in the Namibian economy; whether in the VC space, the water technology industry or social impact projects like our Taxi Ownership Program; where we license used cars as Taxi’s and employ urban migrants as cab drivers, before handing over ownership of the car once the capital earned equalled the capital spent on the car. This, in turn, allows Windhoek’s poor to break out of the poverty cycle by having their family own a car.

Why did you select Namibia as your primary focus within the region?

Namibia is a newly founded country, gaining independence in 1990 from South Africa. With that in mind, the generation of Namibian entrepreneurs I work with represent the firstborn independent Namibians. This burning sense of liberation engrained in the young people can bring unprecedented prosperity to Namibia. It is an honour and a pleasure to work with individuals, who truly believe that the best is yet to come.

Not to sound too much like a Deloitte® market report, but Namibia uses the South African rand as legal tender with the local currency being exchanged one-to-one. Being so closely linked to South Africa in all matters finance and banking, allows Namibia to possess one of the most advanced financial systems on the continent. The public sector is also more efficient than in other sub-Saharan nations and so are the bureaucratic systems in place. Maybe this can be partially attributed to a modest population size (2 Million Namibians in contrast to 120 million people in my native Egypt).

There is also a personal element in my choosing of Namibia. Being introduced to the country by Glen Mainga on an extended visit in 2016 took me all across this beautiful land; to a dear friends rhino farm in Omaruru, a wedding in Katima Mulilo, and all the way to the great Victoria Falls. It was an assured way of finding out that Namibia’s people, with their originality of thought and immense kindness in their hearts, was where I would like to set-up and establish my first impact investment fund.

Besides business, you are also involved in philanthropy. Where and how did that calling originate?

Completing an MSc Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the LSE was my big introducer to the philanthropy space. Cutting edge innovation design, analytical methods deeply rooted in anthropology and the intrinsic understanding of beneficiaries of business ventures have spurred not just the desire, but also the ability, to combine market-oriented techniques with impact-focused objectives to solve any problem, in any sector and in any country.

Our biggest barrier to systemic development on our beloved continent of Africa isn’t solely politics related. Our society is severely lacking adequate education, personal development options and as a consequence of those, economic productivity. If we empower working populations and communities in need, poverty cycles can be broken and philanthropy can be replaced by mutually beneficial impact investment or micro financing institutions. It is imperative to provide willing and able entrepreneurs, academics and other labourers with the resources to realise their ambition. Philanthropy is one way of accomplishing this goal.

What would you say has been your most professionally rewarding project or venture to date and why?

It has to be said that every upcoming project feels more rewarding than the previous one. Therefore, most rewarding has to go to our ongoing water filtration technology project in Namibia. Strong partnerships with engineering and technology companies Zakitec (Austria), KWI (France), SafBon (China/US) and Aqua Swiss (Switzerland) provide us with expert knowledge and world-leading filtration technology that is custom engineered and tailored to the water and energy needs of the project.

Working in collaboration with a series of government institutions, international organizations like UNICEF Namibia, geohydrological experts from the Ministry of Water and Land Reform and water industry firms, we are designing and engineering a complete 30,000L/day brackish water to drinking water treatment system to supply a town in the North East of Namibia and its residents with clean drinking water.

It must be said however, that water and football are surprisingly not that far apart in terms of their industry nature. They both fall into categories sharing some unique characteristics. Both markets are underdeveloped, unsaturated and considered emerging industries, labelled as high priority for immediate development by governments. Further on, a combination of public and private sector institutions assume significant roles in the industry. This intersection of both spheres represents our ideal operational environment.

Lastly, I’d argue that both, water and football, are integral to our species’ survival. Water for our bodies and football for our minds!

Con la tecnología de Blogger.